"Headline News lasts for a day, but Noteworthy News becomes history." This is why some of our articles remain. -- Internet Newspaper Editor.

History of Hot Springs has been changed again, so we have updated our newspaper.... Oct 23, 1998.....

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Local News

  • Does City Manager Support Police and Fire?
  • A recent article in the local Hot Springs Newspaper shows that the Hot Springs City Manager does not agree that local police and fire departments need a proposed increase in funds that would come from an new sales tax.

    A report was released just 2 weeks before citizens have a chance to vote on the increase... with statistics showing local police and firefighters make comparable wages with several Arkansas communities.

    Tim Grimes, of the local fire union said that Hot Springs was the seventh-largest city, but its firefighters ranked 14th in pay, according to Arkansas Municipal League statistics. By comparison, City Manager Myers receives one of the highest salaries for city managers.

    Reports state that Myers pledged to remain neutral on the issue, which is odd for a city leader to NOT openly support the fire and police departments. The increase is up for vote, but the City Manager’s job is not up for vote - he was hired by the city directors.

  • Let’s Poison the Citizens of Hot Springs
  • Burt Newell, city director, is trying to cram fluoridation down the throats of citizens of Garland County. In February of 1998, the issue of fluoridating the city water in Hot Springs was brought up and defeated by the city board.

    Rather than accepting the wishes of the citizens in this matter, Mr. Newell thinks he knows what is best for everyone.... so he is reviving the issue once again.

    City director Peggy Maruthur favors fluoridation being brought to the fall election so that the citizens can make the choice rather than having the city board make the decision. (Mrs. Maruthur, the citizens did vote - in 1989 - and defeated the idea.... what part of no don’t you understand?)

    Taxation without representation? County citizens who receive city water, will not be allowed to vote on this issue, and will have to accept what the city voters decide!

    Note: "Most cities have fluoridation in there water system for decades now and they notice a mark decrease in tooth decay. If you don't like the water, don't drink it and go to fountain where the water is free from fluoridation." Evan, Internet Connections

  • Garbage Collection Still Trashy Situation
  • After 8 months of operation, Garland County’s forced trash collection system is still a mess. The local paper reported: “People aren’t billed. Some are sent a bill, but have no due amount. Or, they get a bill for someone else’s collection.”

    Many in the county wish that Wal-Mart were as efficient.... you make a purchase and they don’t need your money for 8 months... then they charge you the wrong amount.... or there is no amount due at all on your sales slip!

    To streamline the collection, the Garland County Waste Department is using index cards for the data, and relying on customer notification.

    Through a local newspaper report, the Waste Department recommended that customers mark the collection units with a name and street address, although earlier reports stated that the units were County property, and were not to be altered.

  • Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
  • Arkansas homeboy U. S. Senator Dale Bumpers issued his opinion about the recent scandal with the president and Monica Lewinski. Bumpers stated that President Clinton will “rise out of the ashes.” Of course, the local paper did not state that where there are ashes, there has been a fire!

    Is Bumpers suggesting the admission of guilt? Bumpers never alluded to Clinton’s confession of “I misled the people,” but placed much of the guilt on Kenneth Starr and his investigation.

    Although the dictionary defines misledas “to lead into error of thought by intentional deception,” the president never admitted that he lied.

    Although the president will rise out of the ashes, many believe that he will emerge with less credibility, a weakened presidency and an uncertain legacy. The editor of Hot Springs’ only print newspaper stated, “One Arkansan has broken his word, betrayed his family and fueled the national debate over morality....”

  • Hometown Hero
  • A local young man became a hero when he rescued three people from a burning van due to an accident here in Arkansas. Kendrick Davis, 20, ran to the scene of an overturned van which was on fire, and managed to pull the passengers out of the van.

    The passengers were trapped by their seatbelts in the van, which was upside down. Davis pulled the 60 year old driver out, and passengers ages 62 and 4.

    Davis, an African American, was considered a hero by local authorities, although when questioned about the dangers he said, “I just did it.” Hail to the hero!

  • Hollywood’s Opinion of Hot Springs?
  • The Hollywood film “The White River Kid” (starring country singer Randy Travis) which is filming in Hot Springs, has changed the face of downtown for its filming. Banjo Dan’s Vintage Guitars has become a pawn shop, and many of the empty shops nearby have become the “Cabaret Topless Revue Club,” the Wedding Chapel with an after-hours spa, and a tattoo parlor. Other mythical businesses include a palmreader, a bar and “Paradise Heat.”

    Is Hollywood painting downtown Hot Springs as a sleazy town? (editor’s note: Hot Springs does have a palmreader, 4 topless clubs, a wedding chapel, a tattoo parlor and many, many pawn shops and bars)

  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot
  • As reported earlier by this paper (see article below.... “Here’s to you Mr. Robinson”) the city of Hot Springs recently regulated 2 local businesses out of cardboard recycling.

    The Hot Springs City Manager (equivalent of a mayor in a big city) wrote a rebuttal to the issue in the local print newspaper. He stated that the city would approve these recyclers if they would: 1. Limit their recycling to their current customers. What is wrong with this statement? Actually, it is saying.... “you are making the big bucks, and we the city government want to compete with you - so we will regulate you, so we can make the big bucks!”

    The second requirement that the city put on these private businesses was: 2. Provide the city with a list of your current customers. (sound like Nazi Germany?) The manager stated, “If we had a listing and one of our local businesses had a complaint about cardboard recycling, we would be in a position to refer this complaint to the proper recycling firm.” come on now! Do you have a list of all of the gas stations in town..... in case there is a complaint? .....Does every window cleaner give you a list of his customers..... every carpet cleaner.... every pressure washing business? Oh Please! What is the purpose of the Better Business Bureau anyway?

    The city manager goes on to state, “.... most private recycling companies do not have an interest in serving small businesses.” His answer - invite the government (city of Hot Springs) to save the day!!!!!!!!

    The great thing about having government involved is that if the recycling loses money, the city can just raise your taxes to pay for the shortage. For those of you who were born yesterday, feel free to call the city manager Kent Myers, and thank him.....321-6810.

  • Convention Center Opening Delayed
  • The local print newspaper said the grand opening of the new Civic & Convention Center will take on a Yuletide tone. That is a nice way of saying the celebration will happen in December - a full month behind schedule.

    Local authorities blame the weather for the delay. The report in the paper stated “The grand opening is a four-day celebration designed mainly to thank Hot Springs for footing the bill to build the center and to show off its ability to serve as a multi-function facility.” Sounds like everything will be free..... thank the citizens for footing the bill for the civic center. Read on. “The main concert and the black tie event will carry charges.”

    So much for the free lunch. So much for giving thanks.

  • Hollywood Comes to Hot Springs
  • The cast and crew of the Hollywood film “The White River Kid” recently celebrated its filming in Arkansas..... with most scenes filmed in Hot Springs.

    The Gala celebration was held at the Arlington Hotel, an historic building that once housed the likes of Al Capone.

    The film stars a New York actor - Wes Bentley, but the most familiar star in town was country singer Randy Travis. Travis played the sheriff, and many of the local citizens were “extras” in the film. Local Toastmaster and candidate for county judge Kevin Byrd played the role of deputy. Partygoers included Dick Kelley, President Clinton’s stepfather, and Lt. Governor Winthrop Rockefeller.

  • Voters Drown the Thermal Pool Idea
  • Hot Springs voters overwhelmingly vetoed the proposed thermal pool project in a special election recently. The vote was 69 percent against, to 31 percent for.

    “I think it is a vote that people don’t want cities to go into private business,” stated an owner of a local health spa. If that is true, then voters would not be happy knowing that city government is competing with the mule line with its tourist trolleys, is competing with local parking lot owners with Hill Wheatley Plaza, and is competing with local souvenir shops with its ownership and operation of gift shops at the Mid-America Museum and the Mountain Tower.

    And if we think the word is final, then why does Hot Springs now have a Greenway Project, even though it was defeated by voters several years ago in an election?

  • Bull in a China Shop
  • The local Hot Springs print newspaper reported Bill Clinton’s China trip with headlines that stated, Clinton: Human rights are ‘birthrights’ of all.

    During his trip to communist China, President Clinton stated that human rights “are the birthrights of people everywhere” and that “freedom is a powerful engine of progress.” Although President Clinton received his moral training during his formative years in Hot Springs, (he lived here from age 7 until his graduation from Hot Springs High School) the Arkansas legislature does not agree with his human rights stand.

    The president forgot about someone...... the unborn. What about their ‘birthright of freedom’? Is an unborn child considered part of “people everywhere”? President Clinton supports partial birth abortions - the Arkansas legislature does not.

    While speaking about democracy, the president went on to say that the United States does not seek to impose its vision on others. What about our civil war? Did the north seek to impose its vision about slavery onto the south? And was that wrong? And then there is President Reagan who said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” Imposing our vision on others eventually brought the wall down.

  • “Here’s To You, Mr. Robinson”
  • Ralph Robinson wanted to help the environment in Hot Springs - by recycling cardboard. (save the trees - recycle!) He made it easy on local businesses when he parked trailers near their buildings, then hauled the cardboard off at no charge. The businesses were happy because Mr. Robinson was saving them sanitation costs.

    The city of Hot Springs decided to go into the same business, and they put enough pressure on Mr. Robinson to make him shut his operation down. (give us a list of all of your customers...pay the customers for the cardboard... etc.)

    But the customers were happy just to have the cardboard picked up for free. One business was saving $420 per week by having Mr. Robinson pick up its cardboard!

    Sanitation Director Doyle Smith demanded that Robinson pay fair market value for the waste because it is a commodity. (okay, is it waste, or is it a commodity?) If the cardboard is “waste”, then the city and county sanitation departments can regulate it. If it is a commodity, then the city has no authority over prices charged by local private businesses.

    The city claims it is their property once a store owner throws it away. What about the day-old bread that the grocer gives to the local “street mission?” What about the extra pizza that the local pizzeria gives to the farmer to feed his hogs with? Is this waste, or commodity? Is the City of Hot Springs claiming and regulating these “throw aways?”

  • Is Hot Springs Going to Scam the Tourists?
  • The owner of a local health spa claims that the city is offering a scam to the tourists with its proposed thermal pool plan. Dewey Crow, owner of the Hot Springs Health Spa claims, “It’s a city water pool with some nice plants around it for 4.65 million dollars.” Dewey says the water will be chlorinated city water, and not really thermal spring water.

    Hot Springs voters are to vote on this “tourist attraction” allowing for millions of dollars in bonds to pay for it.

    Dewey also claims that according to the park service, there is only 10,000 to 300,000 gallons available per day, and he uses 200,000 to 300,000 in his business. If the city’s pool is 20 times larger than Dewey’s, (as he claims) - where will the extra natural spring water come from?

    And why does city government feel the need to compete with local businesses by going into the tourist business? Shouldn’t city government be concerned about governing? Since the city’s brochures claim that it will add water to cool the thermal waters - is this an admission of guilt in mixing chlorinated water in and calling it natural spring water?

    Michael Branch, manager of Buckstaff Baths, also opposes the plan. He does not want to compete with the government, - “This seems to be private enterprise vs. public enterprise,” Branch stated. (hey Michael, don’t worry about it - they will cut their prices well below you since they can be subsidized by the local taxpayers!)

    **** NOTE **** The voter said NO !! -- It will not be built ****

  • Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission Breaks the Law?
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission violated the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. An investigator with the department claims the commission does not have an FMLA plan as required and has directed the commission to rehire Michelle Pyle, former director of administrative services, and pay her back wages for FMLA reasons.

    Pyle’s attorney claims that the commission would not accept her attempt to file an FMLA emergency leave form. The city of Hot Springs has an FMLA plan in place, but the commission operates as a separate entity, carrying its own administrative procedures and guidelines. (I smell a dead rat here)

    Pyle was notified that she resigned when she took the emergency day, and the Employment Security Division has already determined that she did not resign, but that she was fired without cause.

  • City Gets out of the Real Estate Business - Makes Mega-Profit -- Great Job !!
  • Hot Springs Board of Directors took less than a minute Monday to sell Aviation Plaza, a massive building on airport property, to its main tenant, Hi-Tech Engineering. "Sold," - board members unanimously accepted the bid without discussion.

    The city bought the building and 30 acres in 1991 for $425,000. That would mean that half of the acreage is worth $212,500. They sold the building and half of the acreage for $2,100,030. Do you know anyone else who owns property that increased in value almost10 fold in just 7 years?

    Reports stated that airport staff and a Hi-Tech executive seemed happy about the deal after it was approved. The reports did not state that the city did not allow an open amount bid, but set a minimum of $2,100,000. Hi-Tech offered $30.00 more than the minimum.

  • Hot Springs Tornado is a Spiritual Experience
  • The local print newspaper recently stated: “A tornado swept eastward across Hot Springs' south side shortly before midnight Wednesday, damaging homes and businesses but miraculously leaving no one injured or dead in its wake.”

    The damage was so extensive that the Garland County Judge issued a countywide disaster emergency proclamation. The American Red Cross found 66 homes with minor damage to roofs, carports and eaves.

    The tornado seemed to develop on the largest open land surface in the Hot Springs area - the local airport. Then it headed east to Central Avenue. This is not the first time a tornado has struck the Central Avenue area; another one hit that location around the fall of 1981.

    Weather, an act of God? Service Liquor & Wines received the greatest damage, and it looked as though a huge giant stomped its foot on their roof. More than one citizen credited God for protecting them in the terror. "It is a blessing and a miracle that the trees fell around the house," said Lora Matula, whose home lost a few shingles. "I feel that God must have been looking after me," another citizen said.

    Al Williams, who lives directly behind Wal-Mart, said he was awakened by his dogs barking and went outside to check, when "I suddenly felt like my head was going to burst out," he said, apparently from the low pressure. "It was the good Lord who saved me," he claimed. "That's what did it." Williams was able to seek cover behind a stack of hay bales piled next to one section of his fence. The miracle - nearly the entire length of the fence was blown away , except for the section Williams hid behind. "Only God answering my prayers kept me alive." Williams said the hay had been previously used by a church - “It was spiritual hay."

  • Local Print Newspaper Gets Hit
  • The Sentinel Record, Hot Springs’ only local print newspaper has been hit with much criticism in the last month. After publishing a political cartoon that showed the Boy Scouts of America as being equal with the Ku Klux Klan, the newspaper was hit with several letters to the editor blasting it for its poor judgment. (the scouts refuse to allow sodomites into their club since a scout is morally straight and to remove the phrase “do my duty to God and my country.”)

    Amazingly enough, when the story came out about the youth in Oregon who murdered his parents and shot 22 classmates at school, guess who tackled the teen and stopped the shooting? A fellow classmate who just happened to be a Boy Scout! (guess he was just doing his duty to God and his country)

    A recommendation for follow-up headlines should be “Scout Bites the Dust to Save Lives, Newspaper Eats Words.”

  • Where Have all The Flowers Gone?
  • Renate Brown, the comptroller of the county's solid waste department, received some flowers Monday from Hardy Instruments, the San Diego firm that produced and installed the computer billing system for the county's new house-to-house collection system.

    But nice flowers won’t solve the problem that this monstrous county boondoggle is facing. The office has been deluged with questions from people wanting to know about their first garbage bill under the new system.

    Some people didn't get a bill. Some got two and some got bills even though they'd already paid. Some didn't have tipping fees included and some had extra tipping. These mistakes could ultimately cost the taxpayers up to $20,000.

    Hardy Instruments President David Ness isn't convinced that the problems are his company's fault. (then why did you send flowers, Ness?) Besides not willing to accept blame on the problems, Ness said county residents should be proud of the new system. (hey, I’m proud of inefficiency, aren’t you?)

  • Magic Springs to Open in 1999!
  • Hot Springs’ local amusement park may see a new face in the coming months since a Belgium company bought it at auction. The failed park has set empty since October of 1995, when the city of Hot Springs shut off its water, sewer and sanitation services due to unpaid bills.

    Fitraco of Belgium purchased the park, and expect to see 500,000 to 600,000 visitors to the park when it opens. The company will not operate the facility, but will hire an operator, since Fitraco is a financing company - not an operator.

    The Belgium based company does most of its business in the United States, and has half of its assets here.

    The amusement park has been plagued in legal messes in the past, with as many as 100 mortgage holders staking partial claim on the facility. Although Hot Springs has not suffered greatly from the closing, it will see more jobs realized when the park opens again.

  • Garbage Foes are Trashed by Their Lawyer
  • The Concerned Garland County Property Owners, a local citizens opposing the forced trash system, lost their latest legal battle due to their attorney’s deficiency. Q. Byrum Hurst Jr., attorney for the group, failed to file the summaries of evidence and ordinances he needed to support the case.

    The group lost their first battle in Garland County Circuit Court, and then lost again with the Arkansas Supreme Court. This latest loss was an appeal before the Arkansas Supreme Court.

    The property owners claim that the new trash system discriminates between people in Hot Springs Village (Garland County citizens who are not forced to use this system) and the rest of the county residents who are forced to use the system.

    The Supreme Court staff claim that the court’s rules are published and should be understood by appellate lawyers. The comments coming from the county included, “The Supremes have sung and the dance is over.” If the county judge does not win the election this fall, the dance may begin again.

  • Governor is Spurned by Arkansas Educators
  • As a slap in the face to the governor, the Arkansas Education Association recently endorsed the governor’s opponent, Democrat Bill Bristow.

    The governor has proved his support of the AEA when he signed legislation last year that allows teachers to retire with full benefits after 28 years instead of 30. He also showed his support by enrolling his 2 children in the Little Rock School system, which is better than what President Clinton did. (he enrolled his daughter in a private school when he moved to Washington)

    A recent newspaper article stated that the governor strongly supports public education, and teachers will have his ear.

    In spite of evidence of his support, the AEA has taken the position of “enemy” to the governor.

  • Susan McDougal - Arkansas Home-girl
  • A recent print article stated “McDougal: I Won’t Talk.” After serving 18 months for contempt, (failure to answer questions of the grand jury) McDougal was in Arkansas for more questioning in the Whitewater investigation this past week.

    Even though prosecutors had new questions, she refused to answer any of these questions. Is she pleading the 5th amendment? (I will not answer on grounds it may tend to incriminate me) Previously she was asked about the President, and she failed to answer questions about him, not herself.

    This new round of questions is about Hillary Rodham, Webb Hubbell and his father-in-law. (doesn’t sound like personal incrimination)

    Is Arkansas a "good ole boy" state? Newspapers reported, “Members of her family predicted.... that, if she went to trial on a charge of criminal contempt, no Arkansas jury would convict her."

  • President’s Alma Mater Makes it Big!
  • Hot Springs High School, alma mater of President Bill Clinton, took state championships in basketball this year. The boys’ varsity team won the state title, and the girls’ varsity team took their state title.

    Shameka Christon, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Sophomore of the Year, stands at 6’2” and averaged 18 points per game this year. Last year the Hot Springs Trojans also won the championship, and as a freshman, Shameka averaged 25 points per game.

    A 6 foot post for the Hot Springs team, Joy Oakley was awarded the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Player of the Year. She will take her talent to the University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks next year.

  • Internet Newspaper Hits it on the Head Again
  • A recent report in the news tells the story of a 14 year old student in Pennsylvania who opened fire on students and teachers at a school dance. We reported previously that the liberal news media claimed that Arkansas made guns too accessible, and that “red-neck” attitudes prevailed in the slayings in Jonesboro.

    Pennsylvania is not the south, and “red neck attitude” is not a factor in this latest tragedy.

    Our story claimed that a lack of character is the plague on our nation, not the attitudes of southern culture, nor the accessibility of guns. In a small town in Georgia it is against the law to NOT have a gun in your home. Crime is not rampant in that town.

    “Thou Shalt not Kill” was taken off of the public school walls 30 years ago. Perhaps we need another dose of ancient Hebrew wisdom.

  • Tribute to the Slain in Jonesboro
  • We pay tribute to the students and the community of Jonesboro in the recent killing of 4 students and a teacher at the public school.

    When the story first broke, the national media blasted Arkansas, since guns are supposedly so “easily accessible” in the state. Do guns kill people, or do people kill people?

    The motive for the slayings seemed to be a distraught teenager who had just “broken up” with his girlfriend. Had this have been a racial killing, the media would have jumped all over the “intent of the heart” of the killer. Take the Oklahoma City bombing. Did the media investigate the availability of fertilizer, or did they jump all over the “motive” for McVeigh’s act? (government hater, etc.) Perhaps the national media could have investigated whether “dating and romance” are appropriate for 13 year old children. Could it be that a 13 year old does not have the emotional maturity to handle the ups and downs of romance? Should dating behaviors and patterns be saved for more mature young people who can handle the hurts without resulting to murder?

    Further reports stated that the 11 year old involved in the murders was considered a “demon” by his neighbors. The most recent report of the character of the 13 year old was that he was “trouble.”

    Isn’t the issue really an issue of “character?” The guns did not kill the people, the person pulling the trigger did it. And the character behind the murderers has been in question by citizens of Jonesboro. Good character - trustworthy, loyal, kind, reverent - is what separates murderers from law abiding citizens.

  • We Ain’t Gonna Take It!
  • Recently, a group of local Garland County citizens met at the public library for a modern day “Boston Tea Party.” The group is wanting to “elect citizens who believe in government OF, BY, and FOR THE PEOPLE, not of, by and for the politician!”

    There seems to be a groundswell of people who want all of the current quorum court out of office. Nine people who are running for Justice of the Peace, a candidate for county judge, and two candidates for Garland County Tax Assessor were in the near-filled auditorium giving their views to citizens who are mad.... angry!

    “Current politicians are not listening to the people” was the consensus of the people who are upset with the trash system, and most feel it was a railroad job. Citizens do not feel their opinions were asked, and they were not able to give input on this major decision affecting residents of unincorporated Garland County.

    The many folks running for office for the first time, demonstrated the scenario that they want a government of, by and for the people.

  • When Students Don’t Make the Grade - Blame the Grader!
  • A recent report on testing of high school students in Garland County revealed alarming statistics. The High School Proficiency Exam, mandated by Act 1172 of 1997, revealed that only 13 percent of those students passed the math portion of the test, and a mere 42 percent passed the literacy portion.

    Local school officials claim the students are not completely to blame. “The whole thing was a boondoggle,” one principal stated. “Students are not being tested on what they are taught."

    The test is a product of a statewide panel of math teachers, Arkansas Department of Education officials, and two out-of-state testing companies. (sounds like a pretty incompetent group) The administrator of President Clinton’s alma mater did state, “If the test is too hard, we have to ask ourselves, What are our standards?”

  • Hot Springs Poet’s Loft Celebrates Anniversary
  • In February of 1989, Hot Springs experienced a new birth of culture. Bud Kenny, who moved to Hot Springs in 1977, founded the Wednesday night Poetry Reading, originally held at Grotto’s Restaurant. Those Wednesday night readings have continued non-stop for nine years now.

    Although Kenny was the founder and master of ceremonies during the first 3 years, the M.C. duties are shared on a rotation basis now. Bud Kenny, Paul Tucker, and Howard Lee Kilby are the present coordinators of the event which is held in the Poet’s Loft, in downtown Hot Springs.

    Printed articles about this local event have appeared in local newsprint, and in publications throughout the U.S. including People Magazine.

  • Why are the City Directors Optimistic?
  • The Hot Springs City Board of Directors, which includes the mayor, claim they are optimistic about 1998 here in Bill Clinton’s hometown. Crime in the city is on the rise, including a recent rash of violent crimes and robberies, and there has been murder at Oaklawn Racetrack.

    “The thing I like the best about the year is that there is a positive attitude in the city,” claimed Mayor Helen Selig. (hey, a smile on everyone’s face - that will make the crime go away)

    Selig went on to state these reasons for optimism:

    1. The city had the lowest unemployment rate in years. (is that why the robberies are at an all-time high? ... because everyone has a great job?)

    2. The city is going to complete over 80 million dollars in public projects. (public projects mean public money .... more taxes....that’s optimistic?)

    3. Regaining tourism in Arkansas is going to be hard. (sounds positive to me!)

    City Director Peggy Maruthur believes that more emphasis should be paid to neighborhoods. (what a novel idea, a government for the people!) Maruthur stated, “Right now our resources and energies are going into the civic center.”

    Someone once said, “The first core function of any government is to protect its citizens, individually and collectively from harm by others.” (You mean reducing crime is more important than the unemployment rate or the civic center? )

  • Questioning the Chief’s Character
  • The local print newspaper has been receiving several editorial “blasts” against President Clinton from college students lately. Two girls last week sent letters to the editor, and their comments have stirred up some of the good ole boys.

    “President Clinton was elected to run our country,” one of the good ole boys wrote back. “The economy has never been better and we’re not in a war. He’s so proud of Arkansas and never forgets where he came from.” (are those great reasons to not question his character or what?)

    In the same edition of the newspaper, a 19 year old wrote, “Since the beginning of our nation in 1776, and the signing of our constitution in 1787, the people of our nation have done their best to elect men of outstanding morals and integrity. William Jefferson Clinton exhibits neither of these attributes.”

    The writer went on to say, “If Mr. Clinton could so easily be persuaded to be unfaithful to his wife, how facile would it be to persuade this man to be unfaithful to the nation which he has sworn to uphold and protect?”

  • Arkansas Excuses Immoral Leaders
  • What do the loyal citizens of President Clinton’s home state think about this Monica Lewinsky stuff? The people who really know him - Arkansans - what do they think? The talk on the streets of Hot Springs is that Clinton is lying when he says he did not have a sexual relationship with the ex-intern.
    In a local unofficial interview, two-thirds of those surveyed claimed they did not believe the president’s denials. “We knew his personality flaws before we elected him, so it’s kind of silly for us to complain about it now” stated Sonja Crawford in a local interview.
    Impeachment? In a local poll, 83% of Democrats questioned claimed they would vote for him today, even though most think he is lying. Barry Kirksey stated, “It makes no difference. He’s running the country, he’s doing a good job. It’s the same song - different verse.” In Little Rock, Gene Rainwater stated, “This will be the only time Arkansas has a president. I think it’s a terrible thing what they’re doing to him.”
    Arkansas has taken a slow turn in a different direction since Mike Huckabee became governor. Governor Huckabee’s emphasis on “good character” was realized when he wrote a book called “Character is the Issue.”

  • What Part of “NO” Don’t the City Board Directors Understand?
  • Hot Springs City Board of Directors are at it again. They are trying to force a program that the voters in the city rejected in a special election. The issue - forced flouridation of the city’s water supply. In 1989, the board unanimously approved the flouridation, and citizens took matters into their own hands with petitions, threat of a lawsuit and a special election. That election defeated the proposal 56% against, and 44% for flouridation.
    So what part of “NO” doesn’t the board understand? Apparently a government of the people, by the people and for the people does not apply in Hot Springs. The local newsprint stated that “if the board passes the resolution,... no vote would be scheduled.” Flouridation, which many people call “forced medication on the general public,” is not done in large Arkansas cities like Texarkana, Magnolia and Fort Smith.

  • Another Famous Hot Springs Tradition - Grapette!
  • Remember the 6 ounce bottle of cool refreshing Grapette? Grapette originated in Camden in 1938, and refreshed Americans until 1972, when the company was sold. (Grapette was the nation’s third most popular beverage flavor in the 1960’s) Grapette vanished from American shelves when the company was sold, and the original flavor is back. with Grapette International now located in Hot Springs.
    Grapette has more than local appeal. The company has customers in China, Brazil, Venezuela, Singapore, and Trinidad. (to name just a few)

  • Trashing the New County Trash System
  • Garland County officials have opened up a hornet’s nest with the new forcedcounty-wide house-to-house trash collection system. On the first day of the service, one of the truck drivers tipped more than just garbage carts. The driver of the truck “tipped” the truck full of garbage onto Highway 7, spilling trash all over the highway. The driver was ticketed for careless driving.
    In other news, the local print newspaper has been deluged with complaints about the new trash system. Some writers have even suggested that the new system be voted on rather than shoved down the citizens’ throats, and some of the writers claim they will fix the problem when the election comes up this fall.... suggesting a government by the people, of the people and for the people.

  • I Have a Dream
  • Most cities in America celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on January 19th this year. But in Arkansas, January 19th has a double meaning. Hot Springs media reported, “Many offices and departments will close... in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Robert E. Lee’s birthday. Isn’t that a conflict of philosophy? I suppose if you believe in the plight of the north, you would celebrate King’s birthday, and if you believe in the plight of the south, you would celebrate Lee’s birthday!

  • Who’s The Best Man for the Job?
  • At the turn of the year, Hot Springs’ chief of police retired and the city leaders announced that they will be receiving resumes from all around the country. Many of the citizens are angry and believe the best man for the job would be one of our current officers. Letters to the editor make statements like, “I can see no reason for going outside of the department when you have officers in the department who meet the qualifications you are advertising.” Since our city manager is an outsider who was brought in, can we expect anything different?

  • Top News Stories for 1997
  • With the year 1997 winding down, the Internet Newspaper decided to take a look at the stories that made ‘97 an unusual year in Hot Springs. Some journalists ask what, others ask where. Many reporters ask who and when, and even more ask how. We ask why?
    The local print newspaper here in Bill Clinton’s hometown reported that the number one newsmaker for 1997 was the construction of an addition on the Hot Springs Civic and Convention auditorium. Much of that news concerned the turmoil that has plagued the leadership.....
    ......purchasing the CSO building for an over-inflated price, firing their advertising agency twice in one year, accepting construction bids over what the budget allowed, and allowing aesthetics to take a backseat in order to fix budget problems.
    But truly the top story for 1997 in Hot Springs has been the crime issue. Sure, a Civic Center would be nice, but having safe streets to live on is a major concern for all Americans, especially in light of what is happening in Hot Springs. During the last 3 months of 1997, there were 12 incidents of armed robberies at local restaurants, almost one per week!
    In 1997 Hot Springs experienced 14 murders....... compared to 6 murders in all of 1996. And with crime at an all-time high, the Hot Springs Chief of Police retired at the end of 1997.
    Come on Mr. President, if you want to fight crime and put more officers on the streets, why don’t you help your hometown?

  • City Director Exhibits Violence
  • Hot Springs City Director Aaron Gordon, 45, was recently fined for hitting a 68 year old man at work. (Aaron Gordon is reported to be the pastor of a local church) The altercation happened in the massage room of the Majestic Hotel, where both men are employed. City Director Gordon was found guilty of third-degree battery, as it was reported that he jumped on top of the elderly man and struck him.
    In most hospitality establishments, employees who fight on the premises are fired immediately. In asking the why question, why was Rev. Gordon not fired from his job? Could it be that his position as City Director is of special interest to his employer, the Majestic Hotel?

  • Porn on the Internet at Middle School
  • A mother was rather upset after finding out that her 12 year old son reached the Playboy Magazine home page at Hot Springs Middle School. The local print newspaper quoted the mother as saying, "He should have never had access to it (Playboy home page) in the first place. They should have had a way to block this material when they brought the Internet into the school district. Every day that goes by gives another student the opportunity to get into this stuff."
    The truth of the story is that the school district has specific policies to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The district's Internet policy states precautions have been taken to restrict access to "illegal, defamatory, inaccurate or potentially offensive" material. The parents of the students are required to sign a form giving permission for their child to access the internet. This parent did not sign the form, therefore the student was breaking school rules, and was written up for it in this incident.
    When students break the rules, it’s pretty hard to blame the establishment when problems arise!

  • County Officials Blow Top Off Topless Clubs
  • The Garland County Quorum Court, consisting of the County Judge and 13 Justices of the Peace, passed an ordinance restricting Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOB's), but not without opposition from some JP's. In unincorporated Garland County (outside of the city of Hot Springs) it is now an offense to operate an S.O.B. within 2,000 feet of a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or building used for worship. It is also an offense to operate within 2,000 ft. of an educational facility, public park, playground or residence. Sexually Oriented Businesses must now also be located one mile from any other SOB.

    Nine citizens spoke to the issue before the vote, one who is a dancer at one of the topless clubs. The dancer, Barbie, said she believed in the regulations, but called the establishments "Topless Bars." Although the clubs do not have a license to serve liquor, this reporter thought it interesting that the employee calls them bars.

    As the meeting progressed towards a vote, Justice John E. Cook asked that the ordinance be tabled until a future meeting. Although the county attorney believed this ordinance would withstand a court battle, Justice Cook was afraid of a lawsuit. Showing an apparent lack of confidence in the county's attorney, Cook claimed that he would abstain from the vote.

    Endorsement letters were read from Congressman Jay Dickey and Governor Mike Huckabee. In spite of this support, Justice Ray Owen questioned whether this was opening the door to zoning, and also stated that this ordinance came on too quickly.

    The vote was passed by 11 of the 13 JP's. Justice Alphonso Logan voted against the wishes of Governor Huckabee and Congressman Dickey, by voting no. He gave no explanation for his vote. Justice John E. Cook also prevented a unanimous vote by abstaining.

  • City Leaders Sell Out Citizens
  • Once again, the Hot Springs Civic Auditorium is plagued with controversy. After facing opposition at the polls, and budget problems during construction, the auditorium project is in an uproar.

    The Civic & Convention Center Project Advisory Committee grudgingly agreed to let Hot Springs Mayor Helen Selig court high-dollar donors for the project. However, the high dollar donor (to the tune of 2 million dollars) may have the convention auditorium named after it.

    Some leaders do not agree with this approach. They feel it would be a slap in the face of the taxpayers who payed for the auditorium with their tax dollars. "I don't think it's right to take away from the taxpayers of Garland County," Bob Messersmith said.

    The center will be completed and fully functional without outside donations. The additional funds sought by Mayor Helen Selig would pay for enhancements. For example, landscaping, the plaza at the west end of the convention center, flag poles, sculptures, art work and fountains remain on a list of unfunded items.

    City Director Bob Wheeler and his predecessor on the Hot Springs Board of Directors, Bob Messersmith, adamantly oppose naming the center for a donor, saying it should instead recognize the taxpayers who are footing the bill for its construction.

  • You Can Trust the Internet Newspaper
  • In an earlier story, we reported that City Director Aaron Gordon may have violated ethics codes by voting to support his employer's appointment to a city panel. After a two-month investigation, the Arkansas Ethics Commission found a possible conflict of interest in this situation. The commission also found such conduct falls outside the scope of its authority. It therefore recommended that the findings be turned over to the local prosecuting attorney.

    In a letter to Oxford outlining its findings, the ethics commission said Gordon potentially violated a subsection of the Arkansas Code dealing with nepotism, ethics or conflicts of interest. That subsection states, in part, that no public official "shall use his position to secure special privileges ... for those with whom he has a substantial financial relationship." The board of directors had ratified the appointment of Gordon's employer, with Oxford and City Director Burt Newell voting against. Based on past elections, one can see that in Arkansas, - breaking the law or being unethical has nothing to do with politics.

  • Topless Dancers Support Restrictions
  • The Garland County Quorum Court continued its research and study into regulating Sexually Oriented Businesses (S.O.B.'s) at another meeting of the court's Public Health, Safety and Welfare Committee. (see related story) The Quorum Court Chamber of the County Court Room was packed on November 17th, with some attendees standing against the wall.

    Mickey Gates, the committe chairman, submitted a document to the committe members titled "An Ordinance Regulating Sexually Oriented Businesses..." County Attorney Ralph Ohm stated that restrictions could be placed on time, place and location. All of the committee members gave their consensus that the maximum allowable spaces between businesses should be stated. Justice David Grim recommended that businesses be restricted to be 2,000 ft. from establishments like churches, schools, parks, and residences.

    The real turn at the meeting came when 4 dancers from some of the topless clubs came and defended their trade. Although three of the dancers stated that they agreed with the regulations, the media drooled over the girls, and slanted the stories. The girls basically denied any drug dealing, any prostitution, any "negative" activities. After they spoke, the 3 television stations from Little Rock asked the girls to step outside for an interview. When they left, one Justice of the Peace stated that he had worked in 2 clubs in Hot Springs as a disc jockey. He told the committee that the girls were wrong, and that many of those "negative things" did happen, as witnessed by him. While the biggest part of the story was unfolding, channel 4, 7 and 11 were outside interviewing dancers!

    At the end of the meeting, the reporter from the local print newspaper spent almost 30 minutes interviewing the dancers. And although the main story should have been about what the citizens of the county are trying to do, the newspaper did mention that the dancers agreed with the restrictions. No mention was made of the confirmation of a Justice of the Peace of the "negative" things that go on in the clubs. (one of the dancers called the clubs bars even though they do not have alcohol permits. Why would a 3-year employee in this business call them "bars" if alcohol is not sold?)

    Although the television and print media did not report the meat of the news, the Internet Newspaper is here to bring forth substance. In summary: 1. Citizens overwhelmingly supported restrictions for topless clubs in the county. 2. Empoyees of these clubs support the stated restrictions. 3. Although the dancers stated nothing "negative" was happening on or near the premises, a Justice of the Peace contradicted the dancers. 4. One of the dancers called the clubs "bars."

  • Presidential Pornography ?
  • In an effort to curb pornography in Bill Clinton's hometown, several issues have been raised in Hot Springs and Garland County. In 1994, the City of Hot Springs passed laws that put limitations on Sexually Oriented Businesses (nicknamed SOB's), which include their proximity to schools, parks, churches and residents. Effective January 1, 1998, these laws will go into effect, which will cause many of the 6 SOB's to move out of the city - and into the county. The Garland County Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee met on November 11th and asked for public input on the issue. Eighteen citizens spoke to the committee, and all of them stated the need for "restrictions" in the county also on these type of businesses.
    The Sentinel-Record newspaper reported that "Eighteen Garland County residents addressed a special public meeting about topless clubs Monday, saying the clubs are nests of drug-dealing, violence and prostitution and a blight on the city." The truth is, not all of those 18 people addressing the meeting were Garland County residents, and many of those who spoke did not give specifics of drug dealing, prostitution, etc. Several of those who spoke noted that the presence of these topless clubs posed a safety concern for all residents, and one speaker spoke of the welfare of citizens by giving statistics of crimes that were committed in and near the clubs.
    A counselor from neighboring Saline County told the story of 2 ex-dancers who are in her care in Saline County. Both of the ex-dancers feared for their lives, and were not willing to come to the meeting. But these girls asked the counselor to tell the committee that heavy drug-dealing is going on in the clubs.
    The Sentinel-Record newspaper also reported that a police captain present at the meeting felt that the criticisms of the citizens were "overstated." "We check the clubs quite frequently," he added. He also stated that most of them didn't cause much trouble. What the Sentinel-Record did not report, is that 3 of the 6 topless clubs in Hot Springs are owned by one person - a retired Hot Springs Police officer!

  • City Board Supports Business, Not Citizens
  • Neighborhood residents asked the Hot Springs City Board of Directors to block a permit that would allow 44 condominiums to be built in their community. Residents of Knollwood Rd. told the board that the condominiums would cause traffic problems and that more duplexes and apartments would be brought into the area. Marilyn Kosin told the board, "If you let this happen, you are rezoning our neighborhood. Conditional use is the name for it. It is rezoning." In spite of pleas from the neighbors, the City board allowed the condominium permit to stand.

  • Hot Springs Playwright Honored
  • Werner Trieschmann, a native of Hot Springs, was honored as his play "Wrought Iron" was presented at the Malco Theatre in Hot Springs. Born in Hot Springs in 1964, Trieschmann is the first playwright to receive the Porter Prize, an Arkansas literary award recognizing outstanding achievement by a native of the state. He has written 15 award-winning plays that have been produced in theatres in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston and Little Rock. The playwright's father is a well-respected physician in Hot Springs.

  • Corruption in the President's Home State? No Way!
  • Corruption is rising to the top that stems from decades of one-party rule in Arkansas. Although Arkansas has historically been dominated by the Democratic Party, it has taken a Republican governor to deal with the issues of deep corruption. Recently, Governor Mike Huckabee ordered a review of grant programs, personal service contracts, and leasing and purchasing agreements by all state agencies. Also, he appointed Bill Hardin, an experienced FBI veteran to carry out this extensive review.

    Why? Former Gov. Tucker's chief of staff allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in state contracts soon after Tucker left office in disgrace. That chief of staff's wife is reported to have returned most of the $375,000 she received from the state during a 2 month period - money that she did not earn. Another former legislative employee was paid $250,000 in the same sham program during a 2 month period. Weekly reports in Arkansas newspapers have been revealing these corruptions, including "double dipping" by state legislators. Another former Arkansas governor's wife wrote a book titled "It Takes a Village" - perhaps someone should write "It Takes a Republican."

  • Mitchell is a Redskin - Ladd Shoots Redskins
  • The Arkansas Walk of Fame, a sidewalk trail of plaques in downtown Hot Springs, recently inducted 2 famous people at a local ceremony. Actor Alan Ladd, known for his dynamic, action-packed movie roles, was born in Hot Springs on Sept. 3, 1913. When Ladd was 4, his father died and the young Ladd and his mother moved to Oklahoma - then on to California. Alan Ladd died in 1964 and was most famous for his 1953 western movie "Shane."

    The other inductee to the Arkansas Walk of Fame was Robert "Neil" Mitchell, general manager of the Washington Redskins. Mitchell, who was born in Hot Springs Nov. 6, 1934, attended his induction and signed autographs. He was an all-American halfback and played 11 years of professional football for the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Redskins.

  • Bumpers to Bumpers
  • Soon-to-be-retiring Senator Dale Bumpers told the Hot Springs National Park Rotary Club what his replacement should be like - Bumpers, someone "liberal on social policy and conservative on fiscal policy." In a speech given to the local club, Bumpers also revealed his true beliefs on critical issues. A local talk show hostess brought to light Bumpers' comments on these issues as he stated, "I can remind you of these things now that I'm not running again." (in other words, now that I am not running, I can tell you the truth of what I believe on issues? Then what were you telling us when you were running again?)

    Bumpers, who has been a Senator since 1974, voted against tax cuts, voted against defense spending, and voted against a ban on burning the American flag. (do you inhale, though?) He also voted against prayer in school, and believes that taxpayers should pay for political campaign costs.

  • See You at the Pole, Mr. President
  • On Wednesday, September 13, more than 1 million jr. high and high school students across America met at the public school "flag pole" for a prayer rally before school. The event was titled "See You at the Pole." One of the largest gatherings in Garland County was at President Clinton's Alma Mater - Hot Springs High School (HSHS). It is estimated that 65 students and adults at HSHS met for 30 minutes in a circle around this public school's flagpole and offered prayers and thanksgivings up to God Almighty. Some of the prayers included wisdom and guidance for government leaders, revival in America, and the defeat of abortion in our land. Mr. President, while you were busy running the country that day, students at your old high school were praying for you!

  • Dempsey Knocks out Scott in First Round.
  • Jack Dempsey, the heavyweight champion and one of the most colorful figures of the boxing world, came to Hot Springs on his honeymoon in 1926. Another Dempsey, Dan Dempsey made local news when he refused to get involved in the fight surrounding the Advertising and Promotion Commission deal with Monty Scott. In the midst of alleged accusations of impropriety, Monty Scott resigned his position on the commission before he took the oath of office. The local printed newspaper listed a lawsuit, not integrity, as Scott's reason to withdraw. Dan Dempsey, on the other hand, withdrew his own name early in the game, thus showing his strong "ethical character" in the ordeal.

  • Does Crimestoppers Stop Crime?
  • Hot Springs and Garland County recently took a great step in taking a bite out of crime by instituting a Crimestoppers program. Resort Cable Channel 5, the Sentinel Record newspaper, and KZNG radio (1340 AM), have teamed up to help put criminals behind bars. A few days after the news of a local murder was featured in the paper, on the television and radio station, city police received a phone call that led to the arrest of a local man in the case. (3 days after Crime Stoppers was featured, a fatal stabbing death took place in town) Hot Springs has experienced more murders this year than the previous year, and the citizens and leaders are teaming up to "clean up the streets."

  • Character is The Issue
  • While Governor Huckabee will be touting his new book "Character is The Issue", a Hot Springs City Director will have a chance to show his character in a upcoming vote. Aaron Gordon, a city director, local pastor and employee at a local hotel will have a chance to either "abstain" from a vote that affects his hotel boss (employer Monty Scott) - or vote him back on the A & P Commission board. The local printed newspapers allege that Gordon will not abstain, but will vote the boss in! "It is not a problem with the law; it is a problem with public perception," fellow city director Burt Newell said. "The principal problem is that he (Scott) and Aaron will be serving on the same commission ... . If that conflict were removed, I probably would support it." Director Newell added that Gordon should not vote or discuss the issue at the meeting to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest.

    Gordon has the opportunity to demonstrate the character quality of deference by abstaining. Deference is defined as "Limiting my freedom in order not to offend the tastes of those whom I have been asked to serve." This paper believes that Gordon has been asked to serve the citizens of Hot Springs in this setting. Mr. Huckabee, is character really the issue in Hot Springs?

  • Take a Drug Dealer to Lunch?
  • A federal law passed last year that denies benefits to drug dealers is just being acknowledged in Arkansas. Under new welfare rules, Arkansas has cut off food stamp benefits permanently for people convicted of distributing or manufacturing illegal drugs. Although the federal law allows Arkansas to deny benefits to those convicted of just possessing drugs, the state legislators opted for less punitive measures. In hopes of rehabilitating drug users, (I can feel your pain) the state will only deny benefits to drug distributors and manufacturers, not possessors.

    Arkansas taxpayers will no longer give a drug distributor a free lunch, but will fork over meals for drug users!

  • If You Post it, They Won't Come..
  • Remember the popular line in a Kevin Costner movie... "If you build it, they will come." Hot Springs City Directors have had a similar vision in their attempt to curb the purchase of alcohol by minors. The Garland County Quorum Court, and the Hot Springs Board of Directors want store owners to post signs notifying minors that it is illegal to attempt to purchase alcohol or tobacco products. (we thought it was already illegal, and we thought that underage people knew that already) Under this ordinance, store owners could be fined $100 to $500 for failure to post the signs. Now our police will spend their time enforcing sign ordinances, and won't have the manpower to arrest the minors who are violating the law, of which the sign was all about.

  • Tax and Spend, Tax and Spend
  • As reported earlier in this newspaper, the Hot Springs Board of Directors will likely approve an offer to spend more money than originally planned on the new Civic & Convention Center. It recently resolved to accept a deal from the Community Services Office for its property on Church Street, despite strong objections by two city directors.

    CSO has offered to sell for $180,000; buy four city-owned lots behind the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences for $10,000; and rent an unused wing of the school for 24 months at $1,050 a month and utility costs. The city will also prepare the ground of the new CSO site for $3,000.

    The offer is 38 percent more than the appraised value. The city, which owns adjacent lots on Church Street, would build parking spaces for the Hot Springs Civic & Convention Center.

    "It is a gross misuse of the public funds," said City Director Burt Newell, about the price. He said the city shouldn't offer more than the appraised value. He added that CSO has taken "full advantage" of past promises from city directors not to condemn property for the civic center. Newell said he also opposed the Webb Center purchase because it exceeded the appraised value. The city paid for eight tracts above the appraised value. The most costly was bought from the Webb Center for $40,000, some $12,000 more than the appraisal.

    Newell withdrew his proposal to consider condemning CSO after Mayor Helen Selig said the ordinance would pass. After notifying the local media, Selig contacted city directors last week to encourage them to approve the sale. (a little local political strong-arming?)

    Newell stated, "It became apparent that I was wasting my breath because it seems like the votes are there." (don't worry about it Burt, it's just the taxpayers' money!)

  • "Good Ole Boys Politics are Still Alive!"
  • Monty Scott, a former member of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission is back in line for a position on the panel. Although Scott has previously served 5 years on the board, Eric Jackson nominated Scott to return. (so much for "fresh blood") Scott was nominated to fill the hotel, motel, restaurant representative slot held by Chairman Michael States, general manager of the Majestic Hotel. Scott is president of Southwest Hotels Inc., which owns the Arlington and Majestic hotels. Why would the commission nominate the "boss" of the outgoing board member?

    Perhaps some of the explanation lies in the fact that Eric Jackson, general manager for the local gambling establishment, nominated Scott - who is also a gambling supporter. More corruption could be in the deal. Reports state that Scott previously lived in Little Rock and only worked in Hot Springs and listed one of his hotels as his residence. The state law that established ad commissions requires commissioners to "reside within the levying city." The levy refers to the advertising and promotion taxes that commissions administer. That would be Hot Springs.

    Scott's confirmation will need to come from the Hot Springs City Directors - and one of the directors is also an employee of Scott. How convenient.

  • Booze it Up at the President's Alma Mater
  • A local group raising money to renovate the old Hot Springs High School for the William Jefferson Clinton Cultural Center will hold a fall fund-raiser at the school, selling alcohol within feet of a local teen hangout. The Hot Springs Board of Directors approved the fund-raiser following a discussion about the sale of beer and wine at the event. Alcohol will be sold between the Hot Springs/Garland County Youth Center and the high school.

    The event will include a "class reunion" for former alumni (including an invitation to Mr. President) and others interested in the project. A fund-raising event with live bands also is planned in the Teen Center Gymnasium. (right next to the booze tent)

    The group, led by local architect David French, is proposing to convert the old school into a center for the performing and visual arts and a Clinton museum with artifacts of Clinton's days in Hot Springs and the White House.

    Members of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission advised against allowing the sale of alcohol on parks grounds and only one City Director voted against the proposal because alcohol would be sold.

    "We felt it would send the wrong message by allowing alcohol within the premises of the youth center," stated commission member Glenn Gallas on Wednesday. (hey Glen, this might mess up the president's reputation)

    Despite opposing that point, the commission recommended approving the fund-raiser and waiving the normal fees for the use of the facilities.

  • County Doesn't Believe in "Government by the People"
  • A recent article in the local printed newspaper stated "County eyes launching system despite appeal." Although our founding fathers wanted a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, the leadership in Garland County plan to railroad their house-to-house trash collection program through, in spite of what the people want. The county's attorney stated that the Garland County bureaucrats could implement the program, even in the midst of unsettled litigation. The attorney for the opponents in the suit, claimed it would not be prudent for the county to proceed with the system when there is the possibility that it may all be stricken down in the courts.

    Local residents who oppose the county's plan don't want the govt. forcing upon them who will pick up the trash, and forcing upon them the fees that will be charged. Neighboring counties have transfer stations where trash and recycling can be deposited. The house-to-house program prevents all recycling.

  • Trouble in River City Again?
  • Two Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commissioners recently reversed their votes on the firing of Combs & Co. as Hot Springs' advertising agency. In an unprecedented move, commissioners suddenly flip-flopped, and questions arose to their motives. Michael States, manager of the Majestic Hotel, and Aaron Gordon, local pastor and bath house manager of the Majestic are the commissioners who "changed their votes" and both are employed by Southwest Hotels. The story gets deeper in the fact that Southwest Hotels is a customer of the controversial Combs & Co., and the two commissioners' boss put in a good word for Combs & Co. to all of the commissioners in the midst of the conflict. The Sentinel Record questioned the commissioners and their boss, asking them if there had been any contact or discussion that would have caused "persuasion" in the flip-flop. Although the boss and these 2 employees never actually talked about the Combs situation, the newspaper failed to report whether Southwest Hotels used an outside person to communicate the need for the change in votes. At press time, none of the parties could be reached for comment to see if the employer indirectly used its position to sway the vote.

  • Arkansas is Number 49 in Education?
  • For several years, Arkansas has been listed in the lowest 5 states in the nation in education. Arkansas legislators recently passed a law allowing government schools to switch to a 4 day school week. The state education board is in an uproar because the law allows local school districts the freedom to change to the 4 day week without state approval. "This law is a mistake." state board member Luke Gordy said recently. "We have to make darn sure that we set up rules and regulations."

    Many school administrators feel the shorter weeks will save on utilities, as well as cafeteria, janitorial and transportation costs. And although students will attend the same amount of school, (each of the 4 days will be longer) the savings can be put into better facilities, and better education for the students! However, the state board of education believes the changes are a recipe for trouble.

  • It Takes a Governor...
  • Although many Arkansas citizens believe it takes a family, not a village, Governor Mike Huckabee is touting character courses for the state's public schools. At a meeting of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, the governor urged delegates to think about "not just more money, but how we can produce better kids." He believes that if students learn character in school, the state will save money by not needing so many prisons. Loyalty, faithfulness, honesty are among some of the qualities that can be taught to make better citizens in the state, and better citizens won't be on the streets selling drugs. Reactions from the school administrators was mixed. One administrator said, "I'm very receptive of the governor's ideas. He's just as right as he can be." Other administrators felt that throwing more money into the public schools would solve society's ills. (perhaps the 10 commandments could help - don't steal, don't lie, don't kill)

  • Local Bank Promotes Gambling
  • In spite of the fact that local citizens voted that casino gambling will not come to Hot Springs, a local bank scheduled a trip to Louisiana's horse track and a casino. Boatmen's Bank plans to transport local citizens to visit the Louisiana Downs and the Horseshoe Casino for an "evening of pleasure." At press time, bank officials could not be reached for comment as to whether bank employees are working on this trip while "on the clock" at Boatmen's. If so, this may be a real insult to bank customers who do not believe in gambling

  • Does God Want House to House Trash Collection?
  • The new transfer station for the county's future house-to-house trash collection system was damaged by what insurance companies call an "act of God" - lightning. A large number of citizens have tried for months to get Garland County officials to abandon the mandatory collection system, and an act of God recently melted the glass casing and the wiring in a meter box, leaving a black hole. It also created three holes in the meter's casing and melted three feet of wire. The damage is about $2,000 and the insurance deductible is $2,500. "I've never seen anything like it" stated Paul Thompson, Solid Waste Director.

  • Arkansas Poisons Americans with Chicken
  • Arkansas, the nations top broiler producer, discovered dioxin in some chickens, causing some production lines to be stopped. The USDA, the EPA and the FDA combined efforts in the dioxin testing, and it was discovered that some birds ate tainted feed shipped from Mississippi. The feed company provided the tainted feed to 800 farmers, including chicken, hog and beef producers, as well as some catfish and egg producers. Jacque Knight, spokesperson for the U. S. Department of Agriculture stated, "They could separate out fat where (dioxin) might be concentrated and sell the portion below the acceptable level." (editor's note: great, the fat is poison, but the lean is clean?) Although several chicken houses are put on hold right now, Randy White, President of the Arkansas Poultry Federation had some encouraging news as stated in the local newspaper, "This is a problem that will solve itself."

  • City of Hot Springs Gets Into Tourism Business
  • After being pulled off of regular routes for 18 months due to low ridership, the city owned trolleys are riding high on success. In spite of an earlier report by this paper that the city did not want to compete with local tourist attractions, (Mountain Tower Gift Shop story) the city now owns a local tourist attraction - the trolleys. The drivers were trained to speak to riders about local attractions during the ride, similar to the "ducks" and the Hot Springs Mule Trolley. The Mule Trolley is a locally owned business, but the city owned Trolleys have the backing of the A & P Commission and the City of Hot Springs. Monya Merritt, general manager of Hot Springs Intracity Transit which operates the trolleys for the city, told a local newspaper that passengers are mostly tourists.

  • Internet Newspaper Hits Nail on the Head
  • A previously reported story (listed below) stated that the Civic & Convention Center "over-budget" problem would cause the project to either cut corners or have a lower quality facility. The local newspaper recently reported that aesthetics would take a back seat in an effort to fix the budget gap. The architectural team was "scouring" bid packages, looking for ways to cut costs by substituting materials without losing quality. The project advisory committee decided on a shiny less expensive metal roof, and eliminating some coloring of concrete in the front of the center.

  • Arkansas Home-Schooler Wins National Geographic Contest
  • Jonathan VerHoeven, of Springdale Arkansas, placed first in the annual Geographic Society state geography bee. The geography bee, held nine years in Arkansas, included 4th through 8th graders from all over the state. Although Jonathan is just a 5th grader, he ranked top in the 102 finalists who all had their written exams sent to Washington, D. C. The second place winner was an 8th grader from Fayetteville, and the third place winner was an 8th grader from Little Rock. Young Jonathan can't claim any professional advantages. (i.e. his parents are not geography professors) His dad is a photographer and his mom is his teacher. Jonathan will represent Arkansas in the national competition to be held in Washington D. C.

  • Hot Springs Produces Playboy Bunny
  • Kalin Olson, a 1994 graduate of Lake Hamilton High School in Hot Springs, was chosen as Miss August for Playboy magazine. After being voted "Girl Most Likely to Model" by her high school classmates, Olson realized she had a possible future in modeling. Upon entering a Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest, one of the judges asked her if she ever had considered Playboy. The interesting twist is that when magazine editors learned Olson was from Arkansas, they wanted to portray an innocent southern belle and scheduled a photo shoot in front of Bill Clinton's birthplace in Hope. (What is the connection between our president and playboy bunnies?) Olson's destiny looks promising now with Playboy exposure. (no pun intended) In Pensacola, Florida two other Playboy Bunnies had an encounter with destiny. Reports have come in that while the bunnies were at a photo shoot on the beach, bad weather rolled in. When the two bunnies asked a cab driver to take them "where the action is in Pensacola" he took them to Brownsville Assembly of God church where a revival was in progress. The revival, which has been running constant for two years now, has totaled more than 300,000 people from around the globe responding to their altar calls. When the invitation was given for people to come forward and pray, the bunnies felt the power of God touch them. The report came in that the bunnies, soaking with sweat at the church's altar, claimed they felt the evil had left them. One bunny said she was a new person and felt like she needed a new name.

  • Hot Springs Directors Spend More of Your Money - More Than Expected
  • The Hot Springs Board of Directors approved more construction related to the Hot Springs Civic and Convention Center, exceeding the original estimates by $928,609. The bids, totaling $5,305,357 include a masonry bid that is $361,610 over the cost estimate, a glass and glazing bid that is $80,033 over , a roof and siding bid that is $408,196 over, and an acoustic treatment and fireproofing bid that is $78,859 over. Only Montgomery Elevator Company fell within budget guidelines - $89 under the estimate! Rather than approving these over-inflated contracts, the city could have notified the high bidders that they were over the budget estimate, and re-opened the bidding process. Now it seems the city directors have 2 choices - severely cut corners in other areas, thus providing a "less than quality" facility, or come begging to the taxpayers for more money.

  • Crystal Blue Persuasion
  • Hot Springs has been named the Spa City, the Valley of the Vapors, and the City of the Arts, but it is soon to become the New Age Capital of the world. Every year, visitors flock to Hot Springs to recreate, and to dig up the rocks with "healing powers." One veterinarian came from Massachusetts to Arkansas to dig up crystals that help him treat sick animals. "I use them in my veterinary practice. They seem to work on the animals" said Dr. Richard Cohen who traveled to the Ouachita Mountains to dig the treasured rocks. Many metaphysical buffs believe that the composition of oxygen and silicon in crystals, can be used to heal ailments ranging from arthritis to the common cold. Not all crystal diggers believe that the rocks have supernatural healing powers. One Christian who was digging in the mines stated, "The only rock I believe in is Jesus. I like the way they look. I think I will put them in my garden." Visitors come to Arkansas from every state and several countries, and last Thanksgiving a crystal mine had 270 people visit the mine and dig - all in that one day! Hot Springs has several gift shops that sell the crystals, and has even been visited several times by "the Rainbow People" - a group of new age hippies who look like they just stepped out of the 60's. (Volkswagen van and all) Perhaps Hot Springs can change its theme song to "Crystal Blue Persuasion."

  • National Park in Hot Springs Needs Whales
  • Consumer Reports Magazine says its readers don't like Hot Springs National Park. In a survey reflecting visits from 1993-1996, Hot Springs National Park (HSNP) rated lowest among the 35 national parks considered in its poll. Of the National Parks system, HSNP is the only one of the 54 parks that does not have a parking lot for its visitor center. The survey stated that the visitors who come to HSNP consider it clean, well maintained, uncrowded and with no traffic congestion. However, lack of parking was cited as a problem by several visitors. People who filled out Consumer Reports' survey said they would rather go watch hump-backed whales in one of the coldest parts of the earth. Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, which can only be reached by boat or plane, ranked the highest. I guess those hump-back whales and brown and black bears don't have a parking problem!

  • Arkansas Moves Different Direction than Mr. President
  • With the 81st General Assembly of the Arkansas legislature recessing, it seems the direction of the politicians and the people of Arkansas is diametrically opposed to that of the White House. Although our president gave his approval of homosexuality within the military, Arkansas prohibited the performing and recognition of homosexual marriages. Although our president vetoed a congressional bill that banned partial birth abortions, the state of Arkansas gave its approval on the ban in the state. Although our president supports more federal regulation on education with Outcome-based Education and Goals 2000, the state of Arkansas deregulated homeschooling, eliminated the mandate for Outcome-based Education, and made entrance into state colleges possible for non-public school students. (So non-public school students are not "inferior" Americans?) Although our White House administration supports higher taxes, the state of Arkansas enacted a bill that provides income tax relief in several forms. Which represents a government of the people, by the people and for the people?

    Stay tuned for details!

    Cartoons - Does the Dragon sleep tonight

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